In the midst of this constitution-making, famine was stalking through the country, and bankruptcy was menacing the exchequer. The first loan of thirty millions had proved a total failure; a second of eighty, according to a fresh plan of Necker's, was equally a blank. With the necessities of the Government, the necessities of the people kept pace. The whole country was revolutionising instead of working; destroying estates instead of cultivating them. Farmers were afraid of sowing what they might never reap; trade and manufactures were at an end, for there was little money and no confidence. The country was not become unfruitful, but its people had gone mad, and the inevitable consequence was an ever-increasing famine. This, instead of being attributed to the true causes, was ascribed by the mob orators to all kinds of devilish practices of the Court and the aristocracy.

The news spread on every side; the retreat of the English from Concord, which always was intended, as soon as the object was accomplished, was represented as an ignominious flight before the conquering Americans, and the effect was marvellous. Men flocked from all quarters. There were some twenty thousand men assembled round Boston, forming a line nearly twenty miles in extent, with their left leaning on the river Mystic, and their right on the town of Boston. Putnam and Ward became the souls of the American army. Gage, who was awaiting fresh reinforcements, lay quiet, contented to hold his post, when he might, according to military authorities, have attacked the American lines, at first loose, and without any proper order and consistency, with great advantage. The inhabitants of Boston, not relishing the idea of a blockade, applied to Gage for permission to retire. He replied that they were at liberty to do so with their families and effects, on surrendering their arms. The Bostonians at once interpreted this to mean the whole of their merchandise, and Gage, in consequence, countermanded his permission.

[See larger version] The art of sculpture, like that of painting, took a new spring in this reign, but the early part of it was encumbered by the tasteless works of Wilton, Read, and Taylor. It remained for the genius of Banks, Nollekens, Bacon, Baily, Behnes, and Chantrey, to place sculpture on its proper elevation in England. It was during the year 1838 that the Chartists became an organised body. The working classes had strenuously supported the middle classes in obtaining their political rights during the agitation for the Reform Bill, and they expected to receive help in their turn to obtain political franchises for themselves, but they found Parliament indifferent or hostile to any further changes in the representation, while the middle class, satisfied with their own acquisitions, were not inclined to exert themselves much for the extension of political rights among the masses. The discontent and disappointment of the latter were aggravated by a succession of bad harvests, setting in about 1835. The hardships of their condition, with scanty employment and dear provisions, the people ascribed to their want of direct influence upon the[456] Government. This gave rise to a vigorous agitation for the extension of the franchise, which was carried on for ten years. In 1838 a committee of six members of Parliament and six working men prepared a Bill embodying their demands. This was called the "People's Charter." Its points were six in number:First, the extension of the right of voting to every male native of the United Kingdom, and every naturalised foreigner resident in the kingdom for more than two years, who should be twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and unconvicted of crime; second, equal electoral districts; third, vote by ballot; fourth, annual Parliaments; fifth, no property qualification for members; sixth, payment of members of Parliament for their services.

Hon. B. Stratford, 7,500, as half compensation for Baltinglass. [Secret.] "Colonial Office, November 2, 1845.

But Catherine's ally, Joseph, was fast sinking, and his mortal sun was going down amid storm clouds, all collected by his reckless disregard of the rights of his subjects, great reformer as he desired to be. He had wantonly invaded the ancient constitution of Hungary; and on this the high-spirited and martial Hungarians had expressed their determination not to submit to it. They insisted that he should restore the regalia of their ancient kingdom, which he had carried off from Buda, the old capital, and where the Austrian emperors, as kings of Hungary, were always expected to be crowned, and to take the oath to observe the constitution. The Turks, already in possession of the banat of Temeswar, invited their alliance, offering to assist them in driving out the Austrians, and establishing their independence. Joseph, alarmed at this prospect, made haste to avert the danger by conceding the restoration of the Hungarian constitution and of the regalia, and the generous Hungarians were at once appeased.

The procession, on its return, presented a still more striking appearance than before, from the circumstance that the Queen wore her crown, and the royal and noble personages their coronets. The mass of brilliants, relieved here and there by a large coloured stone, and the purple velvet cap, became her Majesty extremely well, and had a superb effect. The sight of the streets "paved with heads," and the houses alive with spectators, was most impressive. The Queen entertained a party of one hundred at dinner, and in the evening witnessed, from the roof of her palace, the fireworks in the Green Park. The Duke of Wellington gave a grand banquet at Apsley House, and several Cabinet Ministers gave official State dinners next day. The people were gratified, at the solicitation of Mr. Hawes, M.P. for Lambeth, with permission to hold a fair in Hyde Park, which continued for four days, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. The area allotted comprised nearly one-third of the park, extending from near the margin of the Serpentine river to a line within a short distance of Grosvenor Gate. To the interior there were eight entrances, the main one fifty feet wide, and the others thirty feet each. The enclosed area was occupied by theatres, taverns, and an endless variety of exhibitions, the centre being appropriated to lines of stalls for the sale of fancy goods, sweetmeats, and toys. The Queen condescended to visit the fair on Friday. The illuminations on the night of the coronation were on a larger and more magnificent scale than had been before seen in the metropolis, and the fireworks were also extremely grand. All the theatres in the metropolis, and nearly all the other places of amusement, were opened gratuitously that evening by her Majesty's command, and though all were crowded, the arrangements were so excellent that no accident occurred. In the provinces, rejoicing was universal. Public dinners, feasts to the poor, processions, and illuminations were the order of the day. At Liverpool was laid the first stone of St. George's Hall, in presence of a great multitude. At Cambridge 13,000 persons were feasted on one spot, in the open field, called Parker's Piece, in the centre of which was raised an orchestra for 100 musicians, surrounded by a gallery for 1,600 persons. Encircling this centre were three rows of tables for the school children, and from them radiated, like the spokes of a wheel, the main body of the tables, 60 in number, and 25 feet in length. Beyond their outer extremity were added 28 other tables, in a circle; and outside the whole a promenade was roped in for spectators, who were more numerous than those who dined. The circumference of the whole was more than one-third of a mile. Other great towns similarly distinguished themselves.

The other charges having been voted, on the 25th of April Burke brought up the articles of impeachment. There was a long debate, in which Wilkes, who had completely changed his politics, and had cultivated a friendship with Warren Hastings and his wife, made a very effective speech in his defence. He tried to shift the blame from Hastings to the Company. Pitt again pointed out the fact that honourable members had not been showing the innocence of Hastings, but raising all manner of set-offs for his crimesa course which he had before said he had hoped would have been abandoned; that for his part,[339] without going to the length of all the charges brought forward, he saw sufficient grounds for an impeachment. He could conceive a State compelled by sudden invasion and an unprovided army, to lay violent hands on the property of its subjects, but then such a State must be infamous if it did not, on the first opportunity, make ample satisfaction. But was this the principle on which Mr. Hastings had acted? No; he neither avowed the necessity nor the exaction. He made criminal charges, and, under colour of them, levied immoderate penalties, which, if he had a right to take them at all, he would be highly criminal in taking in such a shape; but which, having no right to take, the mode of taking rendered much more heinous and culpable.

Leaving Mlas to complete the subjection of Italy, Suvaroff then turned his army towards Switzerland, where Massena had effectually opposed the Austrians under Bellegarde and Hotze, and defeated a Russian force under Korsakoff, sent to reinforce them. But Suvaroff found himself unable to unite with Korsakoff till after much fighting with Massena; and the two Russian generals retreated to Augsburg, leaving Massena master of Switzerland.


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